Satisfying the seafood seeker
Thanks to Sara Langham from The People Agency for inviting me to dine as a guest of Manta Restaurant & Bar. I seem to be working my way through this wharf dining district alongside Kingsleys Steak and Crabhouse, China Doll and Otto. Upon arrival our waitress Ellyse looked after us with her down-to-earth and approachable nature while still being professional making it a very pleasant and welcoming dining experience — I hope other tables on the night were lucky enough to have her as well. The mocktail of Forest Berry ($11) and cocktail of Manta Martini ($17) were well-presented although a bit more noticeable alcohol in the 'martini' would have been preferred for my liking. Freshly shucked Oysters ($4 per oyster) from Moreton Bay QLD, Port Stephens NSW and St Helens Tasmania thankfully retained their salty brine making them a clear favourite although at a premium price. For a bite sized bar snack the Pumpkin arancini ($16/$26) and Manta 'angel' chips with truffle oil and parmesan ($15.50) would be ideal although both come at a price. I enjoyed the Seared atlantic scallops ($28) with crispy crackling pork and was expecting a bit more of a chilli kick in the Spaghetti of hand picked alaskan king crab meat, garlic, chilli, white wine and grape tomato ($28 entree).
For those who have a bit of money to burn the Fresh lobster ($190 per kg) or Crab ($110 per kg) might be on the cards. My impressive looking feast of Grilled lobster with tomato, chilli, garlic and basil ($145, $190 per kg) was nicely flavoured and Grilled whole king prawns with parsley, garlic and olive oil ($26 quarter kilo) decently sized. The lobster meat was easy to pick out but expect to get messy fingers if you order the prawns. The Baby iceberg, radicchio, spanish onion, cherry tomatoes and cucumber ($9) was fresh and simple and came with a nicely flavoured dressing with a bit of welcomed sharpness. For dessert I wanted to try the Affogato with Frangelico ($16) to compare to all others. The ice cream was very nice although I wish there was more of it to match the generous pour of Frangelico. The Warm chocolate fondant, amarena cherries, vanilla bean and cherry ice cream ($18) had a gooey chocolate centre as hoped although I just found it a little awkward to eat off a flat plate when trying to mix with the other plated ingredients.
PROS: Freshly shucked oysters done well, Nice decor, Water view, Lots of seafood choices on the menu, Knowledgeable service
CONS: Expensive, Wasn't a fan of the table supports or plastic white chairs which had a gap at the back
MUST TRY: Oysters, Fresh lobster if money if no object
Menu and restaurant philosophy
S Pellegrino Sparkling Mineral Water ($9.50)
Forest Berry (mocktail) - Crushed blackberries, raspberries and stawberries blended with cranberry juice ($11); Manta Martini - Freshly crushed lychees and lemongrass syrup shaken with Belvedere vodka and apple juice ($17)
2009 Pegasus Bay Pinto Noir, Waipara NZ ($23 glass) - I noticed it was listed as 2008 on the menu and website
Complimentary bread, cutlery and tableware
Sydney Rock Moreton Bay QLD (top left) quite salty, lots of fresh brine; Sydney Rock Port Stephens North Coast NSW (top right) quite sweet and smaller, decent amount of fresh brine; Pacific St Helens Tasmania (bottom left) decent amount of fresh salty brine, texture a bit chewier and slightly larger in size
Pumpkin, pine nut and goats cheese arancini ($24, although $16 or $26 on menu) - more suited as a bar snack with a drink or as a shared appetiser perhaps but not really as an entree
Seared atlantic scallops, jerusalem artichoke, crispy pork belly, oyster mushrooms and chestnuts ($28) - well cooked scallops, crispy crackling pork with fatty underlay, sweetened slivers of chestnuts
Spaghetti of hand picked alaskan king crab meat, garlic, chilli, white wine and grape tomato ($28 entree)
Manta 'angel' chips with truffle oil and parmesan ($15.50) - tasty, uses truffle paste
Grilled lobster with tomato, chilli, garlic and basil ($145, $190 per kg), Grilled whole king prawns with parsley, garlic and olive oil ($26 quarter kilo)
Big chunks of lobster meat = winner winner chicken dinner
Decent sized prawns that have been deveined. Some could have been cleaned a little bit better. Very messy on the fingers when trying to eat.
I think a larger bowl would have been better so I could dip my fingers in to wash
Baby iceberg, radicchio, spanish onion, cherry tomatoes and cucumber ($9) - fresh and simple, nice flavoured dressing with a bit of sharpness
Affogato with Frangelico ($16) - nice ice cream, more of it would have been most welcome, generous pour of liquer about 50 ml it seems
WORTH TRYING :-)
Vanilla crême brulée, citrus and cinnamon poached corella pear compote ($16) - caramelisation could have been a bit harder, nice flavours
Warm chocolate fondant, amarena cherries, vanilla bean and cherry ice cream ($18) - gooey chocolate centre as hoped
Bill for extra drinks, Martini cocktail and Affogato ($33), Bill total would have been $410 for two people
Wasn't a fan of the table supports which I found a bit restrictive in how you could place your feet. I'm more a fan of the flat base support I've seen at Rockpool Bar & Grill.
Clean and simple toilets located upstairs. Perhaps some a vase of flowers would be a nice touch.
Sydney city skyline view
Inside seating and decor
Outside covered seating. I wasn't a huge fan of the white plastic chairs with a gap at the back which wasn't the most comfortable depending on how you sat in it and you might feel a little exposed depending on what you're wearing.